Breaking News News Peace Process South Sudan

Meeting between the government and SSOMA postponed over venue approval by Kenyan Government

Jan 25, 2021(Nyamilepedia) — A meeting between the government and holdout groups led by Pagan Amum and Paul Malong (SSOMA) that had been planned for Monday 18th January to Saturday 23th has been postponed pending approval from the government of Kenya.

Sant'Egidio’s facilitator Mr. Mario Guiro hosting the Sant'Egidio South Sudan Initiative in Rome, September 9 -12, 2020(Photo credit: Courtesy/Nyamilepedia)
Sant’Egidio’s facilitator Mr. Mario Guiro hosting the Sant’Egidio South Sudan Initiative in Rome, September 9 -12, 2020(Photo credit: Courtesy/Nyamilepedia)

According to spokesperson of the government’s negotiation team, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, mediators from the Community of Sant’Egidio had been given a go ahead to hold the meeting in Kenya.

“We were supposed to meet the group of Pagan Amum and Paul Malong in Nairobi from the 18th to the 23rd of this month and this was a direction from the mediators, Community of Sant’Egidio, who came to Juba and they met the president who told them to go ahead with their mediation. Sant’Egidio then proceeded to Kenya and the Kenyan government said they had no objection and that the talks can be held in Kenya,” Dr. Marial said.

However, the team did not receive a formal approval and hence they could not continue with the plans to hold the negotiations.

“The problem was that Sant’Egidio who are mediating and arranging the talks have not received formal approval from the Kenyan government. So they cannot just go ahead until they receive formal approval from the government of Kenya. So the dates will have to change’” he added.

Marial further said that the talks are on but the dates will be changed when the formal approval from the government of Kenya comes.

Sant’Egidio talks commenced last year with the aim of finding a solution between the government and the opposition hold outs.

In November 2020, the parties made significant progress as they agreed to negotiate on the federal nature of the government, the issue of powers, the national identity particularly the respect for cultural and ethnic differences, a mechanism for the economy, the reform of the civil sector, and the rights of indigenous communities including the land ownership.

Speaking with a local tabloid, the Secretary-General of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Paolo Impagliazzo, said that there are some outstanding points such as the nature of the conflict, the referendum to endorse the permanent constitution and the boundaries of the state.

The Sant’Egidio community has maintained that their mediation effort is complimentary of the efforts of the IGAD to achieve peace in South Sudan.

It is aimed at supporting an inclusive peace agreement in South Sudan by persuading the hold-out groups to join the revitalized peace deal signed in September 2018.

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